September 11, 2011: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-35)
In the Gospel message, Jesus gives us an example for how we are to forgive others. When Peter asks “as many as seven times,” he believes he is being generous because Jewish tradition was limited to forgiving someone three times. When he says “seventy-seven times…” Jesus means that we need to offer others unlimited forgiveness. The very fact that Peter was still counting the number of times that he needed to forgive someone means he wasn’t thinking of forgiveness in the right way. In Psalm 103:12, it states that “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He (Christ) removed our transgressions (sins) from us.” It’s as if we had not committed any sins at all. We are blessed to experience this type of forgiveness from God and we’re expected to offer others the same forgiveness.
If someone hurts our feelings this week or does something wrong, let’s practice the forgiveness of Christ and forgive with our heart as the Gospel encourages in vs. 35. Each time we have to forgive someone, it’s also a great time to thank God for the forgiving grace that God gives us as well. We can start anew as if our sin never existed!